Sunday, May 24, 2009

Taking A Chance On Love: Hazel Scott

Hazel Dorothy Scott (June 11, 1920 – October 2, 1981) was a jazz and classical pianist and singer. She was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago and raised in New York City from the age of four. She performed extensively on piano as a child, then trained at the Juilliard School. She appeared in the production Priorities of 1942 and performed numerous times at the famed Carnegie Hall.
Her motion picture career included the films Something To Shout About, I Dood It, Broadway Rhythm, The Heat's On, and Rhapsody in Blue.
She was known for improvising on classical themes and also played boogie-woogie, blues, and ballads. She was the first woman of color to have her own television show, The Hazel Scott Show, which premiered on the DuMont Television Network on July 3, 1950. However, due to her public opposiiton to McCarthyism and racial segregation, the show was canceled in 1950 when she was accused of being a Communist sympathizer; the final broadcast was September 29, 1950.

Above: Hazel's address in 1930

Her album Relaxed Piano Moodson the Debut Record label with Charles Mingus and Max Roach, is the album most highly regarded by critics today.
She was married to U.S. Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. from 1945 to 1956, by whom she had one child before their divorce, Adam Clayton Powell III.
She died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 61 on October 2, 1981 at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

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